Bowie County moves to countywide voting system

NEW BOSTON, Texas -- Bowie County voters will now be able to cast their ballots at any polling place in the county.

The Commissioners Court agreed Monday to implement a countywide polling program in time for the Nov. 8 general election. Bowie County Election Administrator Pat McCoy said the program would allow any voter to cast a ballot at any polling place in the county.

McCoy asked the court for an additional $97,150 help finance the conversion.

"With countywide voting we will have a number of costs and labor issues, but it will be a major convenience for voters because it will allow them to vote at any polling place in the county," McCoy said. "Returns will come in quicker and counting the ballots will be more secure."

The county has 34 polling locations.

However, McCoy said approving the measure is just step one.

"We'll need to buy the voting equipment we'll need and this alone would amount to at least an upfront cost of $498,000," he said. "We'll also need additonal space -- about 1,500 square feet -- and this will be a permanent situation. But I think it will be an absolutely beautiful and positive thing for Bowie County."

In other business, commissioners permited the County Clerk's office to use the CSC firm of Wilmington, Del., to electronically record real estate property.

The court also approved an additional clerk position for the Justice of the Peace, Place 2, office. The salary will be $30,000 a year.

Bowie County Judge Bobby Howell reported that the county's unemployment rate dropped from 6.8% last year to 5.3% this year.

"Things may still not be as good as they can be, but things are getting better," he said.

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